Libya militias give Tripoli leadership ultimatum to quit
Libya's parliament has been attacked on several occasions by militia forces in Tripoli (File Archive/AFP)
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Libya’s powerful Berber militias from the town of Zintan gave the interim parliament a five-hour ultimatum to dissolve on Tuesday, threatening to kidnap any lawmaker who ignored it.
“We are giving the (General National) Congress, whose mandate has expired, five hours to hand over power,” said the militia commanders, indicating a deadline of around 19:30 GMT, AFP reported.
Zintan, in the mainly Berber highlands southwest of Tripoli, was one of the bastions of the NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed veteran dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.
It is where his son and former heir apparent, Seif Al Islam, is held awaiting trial.
The militias issuing the ultimatum included the Al Qaaqaa and Al Sawaiq brigades, both nominally loyal to the regular army.
The interim parliament responded saying it was facing an impending “coup.”
“The General National Congress strongly denounces this attack against the authorities and categorically rejects the content of this statement, which it deems a coup d’etat,” the assembly’s speaker Nuri Abu Sahmein told MPs.
Earlier this month, the assembly stirred widespread criticism by extending its interim mandate, three years after the overthrow of the 42-year dictatorship of Gaddafi.